Party discipline and national environmental policy

I spent this morning reading a very nice paper from the Scandinavian Journal of Economics:

Fredriksson, P G, and J R Wollscheid. “Party Discipline and Environmental Policy: The Role of “Smoke-Filled Back Rooms”*.” Scandinavian Journal of Economics 112, no. 3 (2010): doi:10.1111/j.1467-9442.2010.01618.x.

From the abstract:

We adopt the view that greater party discipline induces legislators to commit to promised policies after being elected. We then develop the hypothesis that the effect of party discipline on the stringency of environmental policy is conditional on the degree of government corruption. Our empirical work suggests that greater party discipline results in more stringent environmental policies when the level of corruption is relatively low, but in weaker policies when the level of corruption is comparatively high.

Because in the case of corrupt government, the party discipline is used to make opportunities for lining pockets instead of contributing to party prestige.

Nice bunch of econometrics here, too, including an idea that I wish I had employed recently in a study on sprawling regions. I suppose I can always go back and do that now.

The unsettling thing about the manuscript, however, is the assumption that the authors can make about their variables on the number of drivers and willingness to pass environmental regulations (in this case, greenhouse gas emissions.) I wonder about this. Yes, the more voters use the car, the more likely that they are going to resist carbon taxes, but there are other ways of implementing carbon policies without hitting drivings/voters.

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